Again this is a re-post from an old blog, enjoy!
Yesterday, I went out to dinner for a birthday celebration. The restaurant was one that my gluten-free family has never eaten at before. So I called ahead to talk to the restaurant to find out what our gluten-free options were. Right away they informed me that there was gluten-free menu available. That was so great to hear, it is really frustrating when I call and the people on the other end of the phone do not know what gluten is! This manager knew what gluten was and they had a gluten-free version of their menu… bonus.
Next, I asked the manager what options were available for my children. The manager informed me that she would have to ask the chef and call me back. Great, I would rather have an educated answer then no answer. So far I was impressed by the way this restaurant was handing my gluten-free situation.
When the manager called me back she dropped the bomb. She told me that there was nothing on the menu for my children; they would have to order off the adult menu. I told her that it was OK, I would just bring food for them. She told me and I quote, “You are not able to bring any food into the restaurant because it is against the Maryland State Health Code.” I hung up the phone politely but I was beyond mad. You do not mess with Mama Bear. She offered my children raw oysters and told me I could not bring in my own food… It took chocolate and cheesecake to calm me down (Both gluten-free). What do you mean that I can’t bring my own food? As a gluten-free family we bring our own food everywhere. Were we breaking Health Code every time we brought food into a restaurant?
I had to find out. I started researching on the internet with no luck so I called the Maryland Law Library. After they researched my question, they informed me that there was in fact NO law or code stating that a customer can not bring food into a restaurant.
Please pass this on to everyone that you know with allergies. We have the right to bring food into a restaurant. I verified this with the Law Library, The Health Department, The Bureau of Environmental Health and The Food Protection Agency. Do not let restaurants tell you that you can not bring in your own food. It is a necessity when you have someone with food allergies or a special diet. Stand up for your right and if you have any trouble call the Attorney General’s Office their number is 410-528-8662.